Crowd-Funding Campaign for Sonoma Chocolatiers

We’re a different kind of chocolatier, offering unique chocolates that celebrate dark chocolate in new ways. 

It’s time more people get to enjoy our award-winning chocolates.

Since we started our chocolate business in 2008, we’ve grown every year—even during the recent economic rollercoaster.

We’ve been voted Best Chocolatier in the heart of California’s premier wine and food country since we opened our doors. Along the way, we have stayed true to our core values—we make the finest dark chocolate treats, with the least environmental impact, in a way that our staff can thrive both financially and spiritually.

It’s time for us to expand and prosper.

STEP 1

Give us a sign!

Sonoma Chocolatiers has won the highest awards at numerous Sonoma County events seven years in a row—but even local customers have trouble finding our shop. We inherited an old sign on our store front from 2006, and it’s now so faded that it has become invisible on the building. Our new sign will make a beautiful addition to downtown Sebastopol, bolster Sebastopol’s visitor experience, and ensure customers can easily find us. We’ve developed the artwork for a sign that will be lit and broadcasts our best offerings: award-winning chocolates and a world of teas.

When we put a new sandwich board on the sidewalk three years ago, our sales increased by 15% within 2 days.  A temporary banner based on our future sign is already drawing new customers, and a permanent sign will draw even more new customers for years.

Cost: $3300

STEP 2

Dress our truffles and caramels for success

Since we opened in 2009, we have been delighting customers with our dark chocolate truffles and caramels with evocative names and ingredients such as rosemary goat cheese truffle, mulled cider or  salted grapefruit caramel, balsamic vinegar and olive oil truffle, and chocolates infused with black, green, and herbal teas from our teahouse. We have three new and proven products we want to share with a broader audience:

A line of award-winning, dairy-free Olive Oil truffles (made with local olive oils);

Peanut Butter and Heaven (PB&H)—what a peanut butter cup can only dream of being;

3 flavors of sensuously-soft, dark-chocolate caramels, coated in dark chocolate.

But to share them with the world, they all need new boxes. Boxes may not sound exciting, but without them, well, it’s like ice cream scoops without cones or birthday cake without icing. In other words, they’re vital to our growth. We can’t share our creations with the world without colorful, eye-appealing boxes.

We’ve developed our packaging designs for the strongest branding. All of our new boxes will be the same shape and size, so we’ll have a coherent line of products that can be recognized on a store shelf as Sonoma Chocolatiers products.  This also lets us buy only one die to cut all the new boxes—we pay the $610 die cost only once.  Designing one box costs about $500; producing and shipping each batch of boxes costs $2700. 

Our award-winning truffles are ready, the artwork is set—now you can help us send these little masterpieces out into the world—from San Francisco to New York., Seattle to San Diego.  But they can’t go naked. They need a box. This is how the well-dressed truffle needs to travel (made in the US from recycled materials that can be recycled.) 

Cost: $10,200

STEP 3

Get them to the rest of you!

We have a strong presence in the San Francisco Bay Area, but our award-winning truffles and caramels deserve a larger stage so you can find them where you shop. We know they will be a hit in the regional—even national—marketplace. To achieve that, we need a marketing professional for a six-month campaign to grow and sustain our direct wholesale business. Gina has already helped two other local chocolate companies expand to national brands.  As she helps us implement our expansion strategy, she will use her industry connections to establish new major accounts for our products in 2015 and help us navigate the demands of trade shows and new brokers and distributors in 2016.

Cost: $12,000

Help Us Grow

Moving Offers to a new location.

Please come back soon!

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Budget

Sign   $3,300

3 new Boxes  $10,200

Marketing Professional  $12,000

Funding Rewards   $5,300

Video   $1,600

Total budget $32,400

 

Our roots and next steps

David started playing with chocolate in the ‘80s while he worked as a geologist and then in international environmental policy and conservation.  Here’s how he describes what happened next:

My wife, Susan, a psychotherapist, and I planned to leave Washington DC before our daughter started school.  So in 2007, we sold everything and moved to the heart of California’s wine country, Sonoma County.  The plan was to open a chocolate and tea shop.  We bought Infusions Teahouse in September, 2008, two weeks before the world financial crisis began.  Ouch!  As we weathered the financial lows, Susan battled cancer for two years. The cancer is behind us, though the impact of the treatment lingers.  We’re devoted to raising our confident and competent daughter and continuing to create new chocolate delights and new flavors.  Come in and try our latest creations—Spicy, Dark Chocolate Nib Medallions, or a cold chocolate drink, our Coconut Chocolate Chill with cinnamon and cardamom.

Our goal now is to expand and thrive.  Please treat yourself and help us by buying one of our fund-raising rewards.  We’re sure that all those people who’ll get to enjoy our chocolates for the first time will thank you.  Our family does—thank you for helping us share our chocolates, grow, and prosper.